I had my own brush with infant food allergies when my daughter had an anaphylatic reaction to fish. In the span of five minutes, my then fourteen month old daughter’s eyes began to swell shut, her lips protruded and her breathing became more audible as she switched to mouth breathing from nasal inhalations.
In infants, you mostly see food allergies. The most common culprits are milk, eggs, wheat, soy, fish and peanuts. Infant allergies are often discovered when a nursing mother eats the offending food and the infant has a reaction such as reflux, vomiting, diarrhea, or breaks out in hives. After age three, the environmental allergies kick in with reactions to flowers, grasses and other airborne particles like pet dander.
Symptoms of allergies include eczema, hives or other skin rashes, stomachache, headache, congestion, itchy eyes, runny nose and wheezing. In very sensitive individuals, the symptoms can begin as early as six months.
My daughter had allergy sensitivity testing using ImmunoCap. Approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it’s especially useful in infants and toddlers for whom skin prick testing on the back is not reliable. A small amount of blood is taken and sent to the lab where levels of IgE antibodies are measured for specific antigens (the agents that cause the allergy symptoms).
Thankfully many of the newer medications such as claritin, zyrtec and others are permissible in children. Check with your pediatrician to see what treatments are available and how best to help your child.
For information on Infant and Childhood Allergies:
The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network – www.foodallergy.org
Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America – www.aafa.org
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology www.aaaai.org
The American Academy of Pediatrics – www.aap.org
ImmunoCAP Specific IgE blood test
Sweden Diagnostics (US) Inc.
An Affiliate of Pharmacia Diagnostics AB